A forum on health was held in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Feb. 9 and one of the issues brought up was Labrador having its own regional health authority. Currently, Labrador -Grenfell Health covers Labrador and the Northern Peninsula.
Wally Andersen, mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, brought up the issue in his opening remarks.
“We will stop at nothing short of getting our own health board in Labrador,” Andersen told the assembled crowd, which included all Labrador MHA’s and the provincial Minister of Health John Haggie. “We are part of the province, or we are supposed to be, a part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We are people. We are people, we’re human beings, and the whole purpose of this forum was for people to address the needs.”
Andersen addressed the minister and MHA’s and said there is one word that can help restore confidence in the health care system in Labradorian and that word is action.
“Minister Haggie, we will never go away, because we are people,” he said. “Children, parents, grandparents, we believe that we too are Canadians, we too are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and we deserve a system that does provide health care.”
Andersen said they want to stand side by side with the provincial government and work with them to provide a health care service that meets the needs of Labrador.
“We’re looking forward to working with you and the people of Labrador to provide the service that is honestly, rightfully and truly ours,” he said.
Speaking to the media following the speech Minister Haggie said he is maintaining an open mind about the issue and said the idea of a single super board for the whole province has also been brought up. He did say redrawing the lines on the map wouldn’t solve the concerns.
“I would be much more interested in what it is from the health care system the Mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay wants and what kind of Labrador flavoured solutions can come, rather than simply changing a line on a map. I’m not sure that isn’t more optics.”
He said having a different array of services available in Labrador is more the issue.
“Should there be orthopedics here, cardiology here, what’s needed and what’s feasible. I think that’s what the mayor is after rather than redrawing a line on the map.”